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No immediate danger to campus following Last Monday’s shooting, says police

The question, “Why wasn’t an alert text sent out?” was asked by many students and parents concerning the shooting almost two blocks from campus last Monday, March 23.

APSU Chief of Police Michael Kasitz summed up the answer: There wasn’t an immediate threat.

According to Kasitz, two things are looked at when APSU Police talk about notifications and, the most important one is if there is immediate danger.

“In this case, we discussed it and determined it wasn’t an immediate threat,” said Kasitz. “It appeared to be a targeted attack, there was no information on the suspect at the time, and there is no direct route from the shooting area to campus.”

Kasitz said they don’t want to cause a panic when it is not necessary or desensitize people to more legitmate danger. He said his fear is people are going to stop looking at the text messages if they are sent out too often, and he said he wants [students] to pay attention.

Last Monday, a shooting occurred in the 900 block of Carpenter Street, just two blocks from the Child Service Learning Center. The shooting happened around 9 p.m., with five total injured. Two of the victims were transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center by Life Flight for critical injuries while two others were taken to Gateway by EMS. The fifth victim died.

Life Flight was forced to land on the intramural field in front of the Red Barn because of the close proximity to the shooting. An ongoing softball game was stopped and students were forced to evacuate the field so the helicopters could land.

APSU Police made the decision that the situation wasn’t appropriate for a text message, but an email gave enough description of what occurred, according to Kasitz.

Kasitz said the best way to keep parents and students updated during events like this is to follow APSU Police on Facebook and @APSUPolice on Twitter. Also, each student has a RAVE account, better known as AP Alert, the emergency notification system on campus. Each student can add up to three phone numbers and email addresses where the notifications will be sent, according to Kasitz.

“All we can do is give people the information,” Kasitz said. “The students have to take the measures to protect themselves, because the police are going to go to the immediate area and take care of that. Everything else is secondary. So, if you’re not in that area, just plan on hunkering down, staying secure and waiting on more information.”

APSU Police has 18 sworn officers certified through Police Officer Standard Testing commission.

They go through at least 40 hours of training to remain certified, and most of the officers are trained in rapid response, according to Kasitz.

Students can request programs like crime prevention and emergency preparedness classes to become informed and prepared for shootings and other potential emergencies.

There are also various trainings through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s emergency preparedness website. The one on active shooter is approximately 30 minutes long.

YouTube also has videos on emergency preparedness, such as the “Run, Hide, Fight” video. It helps students think about what to do if there’s an active shooter on campus, Kasitz said.

More information on the shooting can be found through The All State’s social media coverage on Twitter @TheAllState, Facebook /TheAllState and on Instagram @theallstate_apsu. 

 

About Katelyn Clark

Katelyn Clark is a senior corporate communications major with a double minor in communication arts and professional writing. Katelyn currently works as the Editor-in-Chief of The All State. She enjoys drinking coffee or hot tea out of her giant "I Am The Boss" mug.

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One comment

  1. Clearly if students are asking questions about it they felt it was a threat to their safety and don’t feel safe and protected enough by the police department to trust that their decision was indeed the best decision made under the circumstances. That might be too general of a statement, but I do think it applies to enough students to warrant it being true on some level. Evidently, students wanted to know. While community members are not given all the information that police officers are (and rightfully so), it was very clear to students that something was taking place near campus, something that required several emergency vehicles and helicopters. Some sort of very dramatic and awful event had taken place, but information was scarce at the time even through media outlets such as the Leaf Chronicle.

    I don’t think information about a clear emergency scene is going to make people desensitized. It’s empowering. It’s informative. We are adults. We want to know. Students knew something was happening on campus and near campus, the police might as well explain it because knowledge and information is a source of comfort and power. A simple text that said, “There was a shooting near campus at blah blah blah streets, and it is being investigated by the CPD. This shooting does not pose a threat to the APSU community,” would have provided enough information to students to allow them to understand what was happening better. See how much information is in those few words?

    Not knowing what is happening is the worst feeling in the world. I actually thought there had been a shooting on campus that was campus related because all I could hear were sirens coming from the campus area and helicopters flying over there, and I had never experienced anything like it. Thanks to text messaging, my friends cleared that up. An email an hour later is useless when local media provided the information that APSU police wasn’t giving at the time.

    Also, when you see helicopters and ambulances and police cars on your campus, wouldn’t you think that your campus is in danger? Wouldn’t you think that something happened to your campus community? I think most of us would.

    Students check their texts like all the time. This is a 21st century community of students that are very involved in electronic communication so I don’t buy that excuse for not sending a text.